I live in a farm house. There’s no farm here any more though. Before I was born, this house sat in the middle of paddocks. They stretched from Cooper’s Creek to the top of the ridge. My granddad had hundreds of sheep, and a few horses too.
Over time, the farm shrank like wool in the wash. Now there are houses where the sheep used to graze.
A young boy narrates the story of his home, explaining that it was once part of a large grazing property, and that even though it is now part of suburbia, a little bit of the old farm remains. There’s Mum, Dad and Arkie; the vegie garden; the big gum tree and the tree house. And there’s Delilah the crazy-eyed goat and Lola the hand-reared black sheep. Unfortunately, grumpy Mr Meyer who lives next door is less than relaxed about his neighbours. There’s the noise, and the wandering animals. When Delilah eats some of Mr Meyer’s prize roses, he declares war. It’s up to the narrator and his little sister Arkie to find a solution.
Larrikan Lane is a new offering in the ‘Mates’ series from Omnibus Books. These are short, fully colour-illustrated chapter books with fast-paced over-the-top stories. Each opening also features header and footer borders. Words that might be difficult or unusual are presented in different fonts. At the completion of the story is a spread about the story or the idea being explored. In Larrikan Lane this spread explores the notion of larrikins and urban vs rural living. ‘Larrikin Lane’ shows how hostility between neighbours can be converted into cooperative living with just a little understanding and compromise. As with all Mates titles, Larrikan Lane is a humourous and rewarding read for newly-confident readers.
Larrikan Lane, Kate Darling ill Ben Wood Omnibus Books 2013 ISBN: 9781862919891
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author